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Illegal immigrant fraudster brought to book by Enfield Council

Published Monday, 30 September 2013

A 47-year-old illegal immigrant who was married by the future Archbishop of York has been sentenced to two and a half years in jail for benefit fraud at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

Rebecca Muwonge, 47, of Victoria Road, Grimsby, pleaded guilty on 27 September of making false statements to Enfield Council in order to claim benefit using the identity of another person, she also admitted to false accounting and obtaining property by deception against Newham Council and false accounting against the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

She was also charged with fraudulently claiming and receiving £27,092.75 in Housing Benefit and £5,050.18 in Council Tax Benefit between 1 April 2004 and 7 September 2013.

Muwonge first entered the country from Uganda in 1996 using the identity of her niece, and claimed short term housing benefit.

Newham Council granted her short-term accommodation twice under this name while she used her real identity to pocket benefits from Enfield Council.

During 1996 she married Samuel Bisaso, 47, at the Holy Trinity Church in Tulse Hill, south London by John Sentamu who later went on to be appointed Archbishop of York in 2005. Muwonge separated from Bisaso, and although she never divorced him went on to marry another man.

Bisaso and Muwonge were both later convicted of immigration offences and jailed for 18 months after a trial in 2011.

Muwonge later claimed housing benefit and council tax benefit from Enfield Council under the name of Proscovia Bisaso in June 2002, saying she was a single parent whilst living in Southbury Road, Enfield. She told the council she needed help to pay her rent of £650 per month. ‘Ms Bisaso’ also declared that she had indefinite leave to remain in the UK, and in support of her claim provided a British passport to confirm her identity.

In September 2005 ‘Proscovia Bisaso’ informed Enfield Council that she had moved to Teal Close, Enfield.

Through sharing information with the UK Border Agency it became apparent that Proscovia Bisaso was not the true identity of the person who had made a claim for benefit at Enfield Council and the passport which had been used confirm her identity was false.

Proscovia Bisaso was then revealed to be the assumed identity taken on by a Rebecca Muwonge who had applied for leave to remain in Britain in 1996 and been refused asylum in 2000.

Investigators also established that Muwonge was claiming benefits from the DWP and from Newham Council.

Officers from Enfield’s Counter Fraud Team worked jointly with Newham Council and the DWP to investigate Rebecca Muwonge’s fraudulent claims and it was finally established that the claim in the name of Proscovia Bisaso was completely false and that Rebecca Muwonge had no entitlement right to claim benefits from Enfield Council in either of her names.

Cllr Andrew Stafford, Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Property said “This case was a complex one and I am delighted that Ms Muwonge has at last been jailed considering that she seems to have lived most of her life outside the law.

“For some reason she felt she could illegally enter this country, claim thousands of pounds of benefits and social housing to which she was not entitled, and get away with it. I am delighted that justice has caught up with her.

“Enfield Council has tracked down this individual and is now seeking to establish what assets she holds so that we can recoup the money which has been lost to her fraudulent activity.

“People committing benefit fraud must remember that there is now no place to hide, and that eventually they will be caught and brought to justice.”

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